KFC has been accused of their takeaway boxes being made from wood harvested from endangered rainforests.
According to a Greenpeace report, independent tests on food boxes bought at KFC restaurants in China, Indonesia and Britain in the last two years found fibres from tropical hardwood trees.
It has been claimed that the wood comes from rainforests in Indonesia, where logging is destroying the habitat of the Sumatran tiger, an endangered species.
Forest campaign director of Greenpeace, Rolf Skar, said, “Do consumers want to have chicken wrapped in rainforests, or is there a better way of doing business?
“A big customer like KFC, they’re massive in places like China and Indonesia, they have a lot of control over where they get their paper.”
Boxes from KFC restaurants in Christchurch, Dewsbury, Wood Green and Tooting were analysed by scientists.
It was discovered that 7 out of 10 boxes from these outlets contained rainforest hardwood, says Greenpeace.
The charity said that the boxes that tested positive included Popcorn chicken, Streetwise Lunch Box, Boneless Banquet and the Fully Loaded Meal.
It’s claimed that some boxes contained 10% hardwood, while others contained 50%.
A spokesman for Yum! Brands, which owns KFC, Jonathan Blum, said that 60% of the paper purchased is from sustainable rainforests and that suppliers were aiming for 100%.
He said that the study is a “publicity stunt” by Greenpeace.
Indonesia has lost about 5 million acres of forest a year to logging, since 1996, which figures suggest is double the rate in the 1980s.
The loss of forests accounts for a fifth of emissions blamed for global warming across the world.
As part of the protest, Greenpeace supporters hung a sign on the HQ of Yum! In Louisville, Kentucky.
The Institution for Paper Science and Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, and Integrated Paper Service in Appleton, Wisconsin were hired by Greenpeace to test for fibres in Yum’s food packages.
A spokesperson for KFC UK & Ireland said, “100 per cent of KFC UK & Ireland’s packaging is either recycled or from sustainable sources. Neither KFC UK&I, nor any of our suppliers, source from APP.”
Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) said that the report was misleading as the mixed tropical hardwood (MTH) could be found in products that had come from “sustainable and legal sources”. A spokesperson said “As far as APP products are concerned, MTH does not come from the felling of virgin tropical rainforest trees in Indonesia. APP has strict policies and practices in place to ensure that only residues from legal plantation development on degraded or logged-over forest areas and sustainable wood fibre enters the production supply chain.”
It’s difficult to know who is telling the truth, but we do hope that everyone in the industry including suppliers, manufacturers, restaurant insurance providers and other food companies, will be doing their bit to lessen the effect their activity has on the environment.